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Great games that sold poorly or flat-out bombed

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January 23, 2007 11:47:45 PM

I had a discussion the other day with some fellow gamers and we started talking about games that we thought were great but sold poorly or flat out bombed. Not necessarily talking about games with cult followings but titles that you've played, thought were great, and then wondered why everyone that you talked to had never played the game before or even heard of it.

So I figured it might be time to compile a new list of titles that were critically acclaimed and loved by pretty much everyone who played them yet had crappy sales. Any ideas? I'll start it off with a few: Psychonauts and Indigo Prophecy. Not sure what the sales figures are for either one, but I see them in the bargain bins all the time and listed online with very low prices. Yet pretty much every review and comment I've read about both games has been overwhelmingly positive.

Nominations and suggestions are welcome, along with the reasons why you think the game wasn't commercially successful.
January 23, 2007 11:56:46 PM

Planescape: Torment is a poster child for the cause of underselling great games. PS:T was probably the greatest PC RPG ever published. It's talked about online a great deal but didn't sell that many copies when it came out. I was very fortunate to find my copy in a bargain bin I was rooting through.

Reasons why it didn't sell too well? It was weird to put it mildly. The Planescape setting is quite different from normal fantasy and the story (You're an immortal trying to die) is not the usual plot one finds in an RPG. Also it's not the prettiest of games being a low res 2d game with lots of brown and gray tones.

Korror
January 24, 2007 7:36:47 AM

Supposedly has one of the best stories ever tho. Which reminds me that I have to locate a copy sooner or later.

As for good games that flat out bombed or sold poorly..... Hmmm....

I know I know some but can't recall anything at the moment.... it's too early for thinking.
Related resources
January 24, 2007 12:39:35 PM

I can't think of any either right now, but I know a few games I wish would flop lol. Like GoW (x360), I nearly fell asleep, never has a game bored me so. When I awoke, I remembered why I play PC games.
January 24, 2007 2:04:13 PM

Quote:
Planescape: Torment is a poster child for the cause of underselling great games. PS:T was probably the greatest PC RPG ever published. It's talked about online a great deal but didn't sell that many copies when it came out. I was very fortunate to find my copy in a bargain bin I was rooting through.

Reasons why it didn't sell too well? It was weird to put it mildly. The Planescape setting is quite different from normal fantasy and the story (You're an immortal trying to die) is not the usual plot one finds in an RPG. Also it's not the prettiest of games being a low res 2d game with lots of brown and gray tones.

Korror


Hmm maybe somebody with alot of time can create a NWN/NWN 2 port of the game?
January 24, 2007 4:03:53 PM

Yep - gotta agree with Psychonauts, although I heard somewhere it resurfaced on one of the online delivery services and was doing better. Gotta love Planescape as well - one of the quirkiest RPGs ever to hit a PC, and wonderfully done. Can't think of any others at the moment, but I'm sure something will come to me eventually.
January 24, 2007 4:26:14 PM

There are many examples, but I recall Giants: Citizen Kabuto in particular. Did really well at review, was dead on arrival to retail whilst plenty of crap games sold really, really well. Interplay really got screwed in that regard throughout its lifetime...

Sacrifice is another good example... Interplay again.
January 24, 2007 4:32:13 PM

I fired up Psychonauts last night, and it was a treat. It's been a while since I truly laughed out loud while playing a game, which I did several times in the first 30 minutes alone. I usually hate cut scenes, but holy crap, these were hilarious. I can't wait to play it more.

I had heard of Planescape only in passing, and had no idea it was an Interplay game, which I guess makes sense because it sounds unconventional and off-the-wall. And I had no idea the game featured quite the voice acting cast: Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson), Mitch Pileggi (X-Files), John de Lancie (Q), Sheena Easton (wtf?), and motherf---ing Keith David (They Live, The Thing)! I'm definitely going to get this game...
January 24, 2007 8:53:48 PM

Giants: Citizen Kabuto was the great game, indeed. Sacrifice was another game about the same time which did not receive much following.

I also think that Kohan games did not receive enough coverage, and especially Kohan II did what that "flat-out bombing"
January 25, 2007 1:48:09 AM

I'd definitely have to agree with both Psychonauts and Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy.

A few others that come to mind:
Blade Runner
The Longest Journey
Dreamfall
Tribes Vengeance (also System Shock 2 & just about any Irrational game...)
Freespace 1/2
GTR 1/2
Red Orchestra (actually I'll just say all good simulations)
Pirates! (relative to its awesomeness)
I want to say Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, but I think it did do well...?_?...
Heroes of Might & Magic 3
Galactic Civilizations 2: Dread Lords
Clive Barker's Undying

That's all I've got for now. I'm aware that not all of these are truly poor sellers, but I seem to get that impression.
January 25, 2007 9:36:38 AM

Blade Severance of Darkness.

That was a fantastic third person hack and slash with amazingly well paced upgrades/new combos.

Got great reviews but never ever heard of other ppl playing it in my circles. I gotta recommend ppl have a look for this game if you have a joypad.

Also, I ahem, downloaded a copy of planescape last night. Looking forward to seeing what all the hype is about.

I have to say I disagree with you on Sacrifice there Aaron. I remember it only getting avg reviews and the game itself was pretty but also repetitive.
January 25, 2007 4:23:23 PM

Blade Runner... one of the best adventure games ever. One of the only games I've ever bothered to play through several times in order to unlock all the endings, and simply savour the game along the way.
January 25, 2007 5:07:20 PM

Quote:
I'd definitely have to agree with both Psychonauts and Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy.

A few others that come to mind:
Blade Runner
The Longest Journey
Dreamfall
Tribes Vengeance (also System Shock 2 & just about any Irrational game...)
Freespace 1/2
GTR 1/2
Red Orchestra (actually I'll just say all good simulations)
Pirates! (relative to its awesomeness)
I want to say Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, but I think it did do well...?_?...
Heroes of Might & Magic 3
Galactic Civilizations 2: Dread Lords
Clive Barker's Undying

That's all I've got for now. I'm aware that not all of these are truly poor sellers, but I seem to get that impression.


Just want to give my opinion on some of the games you have listed:
The Longest Journey, Dreamfall, Tribes Vengeance, Freespace, Clive Barker's Undying - great games, but I think they did fine in terms of recognition and sales.

Pirates! - I think it is over hyped (but only my opinion). Or are you talking about the original 10+ years old one?

Heroes of Might & Magic 3 - Excellent game, but I think it was very successful in terms of recognition and sales. I mean who does not know about it?

Galactic Civilizations 2: Dread Lords - is it already out?

Planetscape (mentioned in other posts) - am I the only one who did not like it, especially multilayer? And I do consider myself an RTS fun.
January 25, 2007 5:11:48 PM

Quote:
Planetscape (mentioned in other posts) - am I the only one who did not like it, especially multilayer?


Sounds like Diablo. :lol: 
January 25, 2007 5:24:02 PM

Most of the other posts were referring to Planescape: Torment, which was an RPG based on the Baldur's Gate engine, not Planetscape...
January 25, 2007 9:56:11 PM

Quote:
Most of the other posts were referring to Planescape: Torment, which was an RPG based on the Baldur's Gate engine, not Planetscape...


Oh! Sorry. The Torment is a fine game.
January 25, 2007 10:32:02 PM

Quote:
Any ideas? I'll start it off with a few: Psychonauts and Indigo Prophecy


I am not sure that Psychonauts is commercially unsuccessful. I do not know the official numbers, but I estimate popularity of the game by number of people who voted for the game marks on gamespot.

Psychonauts have PC, XBOX and PS2 version. 1,126 voted for PC version, 2,013 voted for XBOX version and 1,059 voted for PS2 version. That's more than 3,000 votes! Not too shabby.

And total number of votes for Indigo Prophecy is about 7,000. This is simply good!

In comparison Kohan 2 got only 277 votes. (only PC version exists)
January 25, 2007 11:58:25 PM

Quote:

A few others that come to mind:
Blade Runner
The Longest Journey
Dreamfall
Tribes Vengeance (also System Shock 2 & just about any Irrational game...)
Freespace 1/2
GTR 1/2
Red Orchestra (actually I'll just say all good simulations)
Pirates! (relative to its awesomeness)
I want to say Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, but I think it did do well...?_?...
Heroes of Might & Magic 3
Galactic Civilizations 2: Dread Lords
Clive Barker's Undying


Galciv 2? That game sold so much that it made large software manufacturers start considering the DRM free model. The game was awesome but I would never say it undersold its potential.

Beyond Good and Evil on the other hand really should have done better, of course it could have been a bit more stable as well, but the game was great and sold very VERY poorly.
January 26, 2007 3:01:03 PM

Quote:
I am not sure that Psychonauts is commercially unsuccessful. I do not know the official numbers, but I estimate popularity of the game by number of people who voted for the game marks on gamespot.

Psychonauts have PC, XBOX and PS2 version. 1,126 voted for PC version, 2,013 voted for XBOX version and 1,059 voted for PS2 version. That's more than 3,000 votes! Not too shabby.

And total number of votes for Indigo Prophecy is about 7,000. This is simply good!


Good point, MxM. It's extremely tough to find reliable sales figures for a lot of games. I'm not surprised that both Psychonauts and Indigo Prophecy have a lot of votes on GameSpot. However, neither one is a PlayStation Greatest Hit, to the best of my knowledge, and given that the feedback on both titles has been overwhelming positive, you'd think both would be.

Additionally, games like Dreamfall, Tribes: Vengeance, Psychonauts, and Clive Barker's Undying were all nominated for GameSpot's "Best Game No One Played" award.

BTW, here's another one -- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. It's not on GameCube's Players Choice list, but it's been on pretty much every list I've read for the best GameCube titles.
January 27, 2007 3:22:31 AM

Quote:
Quote:

Additionally, games like Dreamfall, Tribes: Vengeance, Psychonauts, and Clive Barker's Undying were all nominated for GameSpot's "Best Game No One Played" award.


[sarcasm] Then it MUST be true. [/sarcasm]

Sorry, could not resist, but recently GameSpot marking driving me mad.
January 30, 2007 11:10:56 AM

I-War
Hardwar

Not sure how well GalCiv2 sold, but it deserved to be huge. It's MOO2 made pretty - what more could you want? :D 
January 31, 2007 2:22:16 AM

Hey, check it out! IGN trollz the forumz. :wink:
January 31, 2007 9:22:14 AM

I am not really sure about older games.... Veil of Darkness, Blade of Destiny, The Elder Scrolls 1: Arena, Terra Nova, Eye of the Beholder 2, Betrayal at Krondor, Stonekeep, Master of Magic, Skynet, Blade Runner, Battlecruiser, Dungeon Keeper, Knights & Merchants, Star Knights, Mount & Blade, Ground Control ..... ?



Anyone remember this game: http://sopwith.classicgaming.gamespy.com/ ? :lol: 
January 31, 2007 10:37:11 AM

Ground Control was a really good game, think you can even still pick up the gold edition if you looked hard enough... Blade Runner was also a great game, but was released fairly early in the days of the PC and needed a fairly good rig to play back then if I remember right so I don’t think it would have had as big a market base as PC games do today.

Incidentally I believe Blade Runner still works on Windows XP so if anyone is interested in an old classic with a good story and a load of different outcomes then it might be worth a try to source a copy out.
January 31, 2007 11:05:30 AM

Quote:
Battlecruiser

8O Would this be Battlecruiser 3000AD that was so buggy it wouldn't even complete the training mission without crashing? 8O
January 31, 2007 12:57:42 PM

Well, as noone came up with this one, I guess it applies:

Boiling Point: Roadway to hell (or something like that).

A great free roaming RPG FPS mix game, never did get a lot of attention and to top it off had a number of annoying bugs that probably scared most of the fanbase away. Still, I greatly enjoyed playing it.

They're making another game with that engine right now but I can't remember what it's called. The devs are from Russia I think.
January 31, 2007 1:43:05 PM

The bugs where dire and the game was very hard to get in to and was a fair bit boring at points if you ever did, kinda like Just Cause but with crappy looking textures. The cars also handle like shit too, feeling more like the cars you used to get on the first Counter Strike (a box that moves with no life like driving physics what so ever) than anything else.

It was a good concept wrapped in a very badly coded and horridly designed game, it’s a shame it showed promise.
February 1, 2007 2:23:24 AM

Quote:
Well, as noone came up with this one, I guess it applies:

Boiling Point: Roadway to hell (or something like that).

A great free roaming RPG FPS mix game, never did get a lot of attention and to top it off had a number of annoying bugs that probably scared most of the fanbase away. Still, I greatly enjoyed playing it.

They're making another game with that engine right now but I can't remember what it's called. The devs are from Russia I think.


Indeed. =)

After the 2.0 patch, almost everyone who has been waiting for STALKER the past 4+ years got Boiling Point.
February 2, 2007 1:41:55 PM

I really wanted Boiling Point to be good, it showed so much promise; but was buggy as hell and in the end was a victim of its own design. Poor.

As to the post, there was a game on the PC came out in maybe 2000/2001? called Metal Country I think....I played the demo and it was really good fun...never really heard anything about it after that.
February 5, 2007 6:33:06 PM

HOMEWORLD II.

Maybe even SiN Emergence, I thought that one was ok, especially the opening scene. :wink:
-cm
February 5, 2007 8:46:51 PM

[/quote]
Quote:
HOMEWORLD II.


Haven't played that one yet. Did it not do well commercially? I wouldn;t be surprised, since I rarely hear people talk about it. Maybe I should pick a cheap copy for the Mac and try it out.

Quote:
Maybe even SiN Emergence, I thought that one was ok, especially the opening scene.


Emergence definitely wasn't a hit. Even Tom Mustaine, who helped develop the game, said it didn't really meet expectations.
http://www.twitchguru.com/2007/02/05/tom_mustaine_talks_about_sin_episodes/

I've heard the chief complaint about SiN was that it was too much life Half Life 2/ HL2 Episodes.
February 6, 2007 11:33:22 AM

Homeworld 2 made money, but not enough for there to be a 3rd one I would suspect.

You are right about Sin I got bored halfway through that game and still to this day have not completed it.
February 6, 2007 2:04:14 PM

Really? I seriously enjoyed it. There were definitly lame parts like the boobs and thongs straps and retarded looking giant mutants but I thought the story line was engaging and the simple weapons and easy to defeat enemies made it a pretty good FPS. With games like HL2, SiN, Q4, FEAR etc, I'm not looking for much of a challange, I just want to get the story. I usually play them on "normal". The only game that I don't play normal all the time is HaloPC, which seems to me like another game that should have done much better than it did; it was a huge improvement to Xbox Halo.
<end rambling>
-cm
February 6, 2007 2:05:16 PM

Yeah, I read it.
-cm
February 6, 2007 2:39:58 PM

So did I. :cry: 
February 6, 2007 2:52:58 PM

Quote:
You are right about Sin I got bored halfway through that game and still to this day have not completed it.


I got bored too and quit halfway. Then I lost my save. Somehow I still forced myself to beat it to justify $20. You aren't missing a thing. Most of the game is head-shots with the pistol. And the end is just another helicopter-on-a-roof-with-homing-rockets boss-battle. You've done it before.
February 6, 2007 3:21:20 PM

Quote:
So did I.


Yes you did, VB. And I thank you for your spirited feedback. That's why I love working at Tom's Hardware: readers are passionate.

Some more nominations. Haven't played them but they came recommended from other folks.

Syberia

Nexus: The Jupiter Incident

Viva Pinanta

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
February 6, 2007 4:53:22 PM

The Sin movie would forever traumatize me to never play Sin again.
February 6, 2007 9:47:24 PM

Quote:
So did I.


Yes you did, VB. And I thank you for your spirited feedback. That's why I love working at Tom's Hardware: readers are passionate.

Some more nominations. Haven't played them but they came recommended from other folks.

Syberia

Nexus: The Jupiter Incident

Viva Pinanta

Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth

People need to friggin buy Viva Pinata. That game is soooo much fun. If you think it looks like a kids game, get over yourself and give it a shot at least.

My $.02
February 7, 2007 12:27:34 PM

SiN movie? WTF are you talking about?
-cm
February 7, 2007 5:05:17 PM

Oh. Hmm. Not sure I care enough to watch the trailres.
-cm
February 7, 2007 10:04:05 PM

Here's another title. Not sure if it applies, but I don't remember it being a huge hit and they cancelled plans for sequels, which is never a good sign.

America McGee's Alice
February 7, 2007 10:30:58 PM

I thought about Alice, but I think the story and artistry were better than the gameplay, so I never mentioned it. I think the publisher thought American McGee's name would have some sway with the FPS crowd, but hardly any of us knew him or cared who he was. I knew him quite well, in comparison, thanks to my Doom modding experience and PC Gamer's Future Game Gods article, but I only picked it up because another gamer recommended it. It was in the bargain bin by then. A victim of over-hype.

Another victim of over-hype that I really enjoyed is Advent Rising. Again, the story was better than the gameplay, but aside from the random crashes it was fun and had great potential. I'm a huge fan of Orson Scott Card, so I was looking forward to #3 years before the first one was released. Too bad the marketing killed the series.

What about Deus Ex? Many of us have said a lot about it, but I don't think it sold well, even now that you can pick it up for $10. It wasn't a bomb, but does it qualify as a poor seller?
February 7, 2007 10:39:37 PM

Quote:
What about Deus Ex? Many of us have said a lot about it, but I don't think it sold well, even now that you can pick it up for $10. It wasn't a bomb, but does it qualify as a poor seller?


Deus Ex was quite successful. It may not have been as big of hit as its reputation and critical acclaim would suggest, but it was still a bestseller.

However, Deus Ex: Invisible War was no a success, though I've heard the game is actually underrated.
February 7, 2007 10:53:21 PM

Depends on who you talk to, some liked IW, some hated it. An iffy one...
February 8, 2007 4:32:16 PM

Deus Ex: IW wasn't a bad game, it was pretty decent even. It just was so unlike its predecessor that people loving the first game, didn't buy it after reading the reviews, and people that did not play the first Deus Ex did not give it a try either.
August 18, 2007 11:27:36 PM

Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising
August 19, 2007 3:39:42 PM

I'd definitely have to say only the two MOST AWESOME games of all time... in chronological order

Freespace
Freespace 2

Damn... I still go on both of those games to kick some Shivan ***. Blowing up Maras never gets old... especially when playing on Insane and taking on 8 of them, not to mention the other fighters that team up on your wingmen (eliminate all remaining in probably 30 seconds flat) and then team up on you. Takes lots of skill with a joystick and keyboard to win--but it's always so rewarding when you do! Besides... how do you not love this...

at stock, and this

and this

and this

with the updated graphics and open-source code?

Oh... and some people are probably mad that I posted 4 images at 1024x768... oh well!
August 20, 2007 12:33:23 PM

Eternal Darkness was great, not usually into that genre. My list is Panzer dragoon orta, okami, skies of arcadia. I'm buying an xbox 360 soon and viva pinata is top priority, gears of war and vegas can wait.
!